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An Onion Tart & How I Tried to Ruin It and Failed (Phew!)

20-Mar-2005

What a day! 

A few weeks ago I took a Puff Pastry class which was really great!  I arrived home with a section of Puff Pastry which I divided and made something sweet and something savory.  I was very happy with the results!  Then I made the recipe by myself to see if I could replicate the class results.  At the time I was a bit puff-pastried out so after making it I froze it for later use. 

I had been wanting to test it out and planned to do so this weekend.  Last night I removed a piece from the freezer so that it would be ready to go today.  After my morning with EE I stopped by Pike Place Market and ended up bringing home a beautiful piece of white king salmon (that will be in the next post!).   But I still needed to use the puff pastry.  I had been thinking about an onion tart – apparently I wasn’t the only one – and so set to work to prepare it, but I was a bit distracted…

Mistake #1:  I took the pastry from the refrigerator with the intention of letting it sit for 5 minutes to make it a little easier to roll out.  I went outside "for a minute", ended up weeding part of a flower bed and made it back into the house 45 minutes later to find a warm piece of puff pastry on the counter.  Wrong!  I quickly put it back in the fridge to cool it down, set a timer for 30 minutes (to aid my failing memory!) and did a few other tasks. 

Mistake #2:  The timer reminded me that the pastry was now chilled and so I took the piece out and (for some reason) unfolded it and started rolling it out.  Wrong!  After a couple minutes I remembered – don’t unfold it, just roll it out as is!  I quickly refolded it (it was no worse for wear) and rolled it out properly. 

Mistake #3:  Prior to rolling it out, I had roasted some tomatoes in the oven and sautéed a big pan of onions, shallots and mushrooms.  When I pulled the tomatoes from the oven I decided to turn the oven off for a few minutes since I wanted a lower temperature.  I planned to turn the oven back on in 5 or 10 minutes, while I was finishing sautéing the onions and prior to rolling out the pastry.  While I was finishing the onions the phone rang and I was on the phone for 20 or so minutes.  When I got off I was anxious to assemble everything, which I did and then popped it into the oven and set the timer.  Five minutes before the timer was to go off I noticed that I had never turned the oven back on!  Wrong! 

Mistake #4 or Smart Move?: When I noticed that the oven was not on I quickly turned it back on and left the tart in the oven during the pre-heat stage.  Would this be the right decision or wrong?  Pulling it from the oven seemed to be worse than having both top and bottom heat for a few minutes.  I kept my fingers crossed! 

Happy Ending:  I watched the tart very carefully and pulled it out at what I deemed was the right time… and I was right!  And it turned out pretty much like it should have, although I think it might have risen a bit more if it hadn’t set in a semi-warm oven for several minutes.  The bottom was crispy, the pastry flaky and the topping luscious!  Someone was watching over me! 

Onion Tart

1 Puff Pastry shell rolled into an 8" x 12" rectangle (trim edges to let pastry spring)

Sauté until golden:
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp fresh thyme.

Spread onion mixture over pastry shell. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese over onions. If desired, place 1/2 cup sliced, roasted tomatoes over cheese.

Bake at 375°F for 20 – 25 minutes, until pastry shell is golden on edges and bottom.

Remove from oven, cut into pieces and garnish with chopped fresh chives.

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